“TO TRAVEL IS TO LIVE“ – Hans Christian Andersen
Or not to live. If you travel to Asia and decide to participate in traffic, that is. I almost died twice on my first ever trip to Asia this February. And I was only there for two weeks, so go figure. To be fair, one time was completely my fault as I am not a talent when it comes to driving a scooter. Don’t underestimate the power of knowing how to hit the break properly… But I should probably start at the beginning.
You know this point during the semester when you are having a little – or a big – hysterical breakdown because you can’t handle things and you think the whole semester is going to be a disaster and on top of everything, you’re not good enough for it all? Yeah… that was the point I booked my flights to Malaysia. If I was going down, I’d rather lick my wounds on a nice beach with a cocktail in my hand.
Fast forward to this February: I didn’t go down. What a surprise. But still, a break was needed after this crazy busy semester. Thank God I had wisely booked those tickets a couple of months earlier. So I joined my friends L & A in Kuala-Lumpur and – after having explored the city for a couple of days – we went on an epic ten-day adventure to Indonesia, rounded off with a quick stop in Singapore at the end.
Let me tell you something: Indonesia is beautiful. And so cheap. Which is always a plus when you are a travelling student. The first couple of days were spent on Gili Air, the smallest island of the three Gilis, just off the coast of Lombok. Apparently, everybody goes there at the moment. I just found out that NOEP was there not too long ago as well. So definitely a place to visit if you are one of his groupies. You know who you are!
Back to the island. No cars, bad WiFi, lots of white beaches and freshly made pineapple juice everywhere. Life finally slowed down. Exploring the island by bike without falling on the sand, catching every stunningly beautiful sunset and snorkeling the reefs extensively to find turtles were our only worries. Could have been worse.
But naturally, we needed to leave soon enough, since we got sick of all the technicolor sunsets and deserted beaches. THE WORST. Not really. But there wasn’t nearly enough time. So back to the mainland and onto our next stop: Kuta Lombok. Before anyone asks why we didn’t go to Bali: Lombok was supposed to be less touristy. That was why we chose it over Bali. We weren’t disappointed. Kuta Lombok was hands down our favorite part of the trip.
Those few days we got to spend there felt like one big adventure. (Almost driving off a cliff but not dying made a big part of that adventure…) Scooter rides up mountains, through herds of buffalos, monkeys playing on the side of the road. Standing up on our surfboards for the first time, then trying again and again and again, until our legs were burnt and our arms hurt from all the pushing up. Spending nights at our favorite Surfers Bar, listening to the terrible, yet funny jokes of the locals, not being able to hide our smiles. We were happy. Which is why we really didn’t want to leave when the time came. But there was no use, our flights were booked and Singapore was waiting.
To be fair, Singapore was a pretty cool city to see as well. But we lost our hearts in Indonesia. The amounts of times we’ve already been talking about going back there is ridiculous. So if you’ve been thinking about going, definitely do it!! I’d also recommend going to several countries, as we did, since getting around once you are in Asia is pretty cheap. It also gives you an understanding for the diversity of Asia and how different every country is from the others. For me, this was one of the most important lessons I’ve learned on the trip. Not to generalize Asia too much, but to try and get an understanding for each and every country there. I guess I better get to work. There are lots of countries still to be discovered.
Just in case somebody is interested:
We organized the trip ourselves. It’s handy to have a friend who loves planning trips and does all the organizing for you. All you have to do is book flights and show up. (Thanks, L!) But honestly, I’d always prefer a self-organized trip over a pre-booked one. Gives you more freedom. We booked most of our hostels and even some flights and boat rides on the road. You just need to be flexible and you’ll have the time of your life. And lastly the money: I approximately paid €900 for the trip, including everything (even all the shopping I did…).
So go travel and have fun! Oh and tell us about your adventures!
P.S.: More articles on our Asian adventure will be up on L’s and my personal blog flying floordrobe very soon. Just in case you are interested. Shameless self-promotion over.
Editor: Kärt Mättikas
Photos: Lena Friedl